<%@ Language=VBScript %> Starcade! Pilot

Original Pilot

THE SHOW | The Contestants | The Winners | The PlayOff | The Celebrity | The Prizes |

The first STARCADE! Pilot was taped in the summer of 1981 in San Francisco and it wasn't easy.

We set a pretty awesome task for ourselves ... 'create an interesting show in which the viewers could vicariously participate with a subject that was virtually impossible to tape.'

We had to devise a way to shoot the game screen without interfering with the player and without getting the game scan lines, capture the score when the time limit ran out (keeping in mind that the game would probably be adding to the score), and deal with the  interference in the video caused by the neon STARCADE! sign.  If that wasn't enough, the Pilot featured 24 contestants, divided into 3 Teams of 8 each. Teams competed at the same time - 8 Defender games, 8 Pac Man games, 8 Centipede games. We enlisted the help of Nolan Bushnell, Inventor of Pong and founder of Atari, to find the first contestants. Auditions were held throughout California, Texas, and Florida at Chuck E. Cheese's Pizza Time Theatres, then owned by Nolan Bushnell. We worked with the manufacturers and the local distributor to get the 29 video games we needed for the shoot - 8 Defender, 8 Centipede, 8 Pac Man, 3 Berzerk, 2 Donkey Kong. That alone was quite an accomplishment ... but wait, the prizes. We had to have prizes that a gamer would want. We selected the prizes we thought a gamer would want, contacted the manufacturers told them what we were doing and without an exception, they all agreed to supply the prizes free of charge .. BIG names like Atari, Mattel, Apple and Chuck E. Cheese's Pizza Time Theatre. It was an awesome task!

To make our task even more challenging, we added smoke, a visiting celebrity and a host who was not a TV host but rather a Hockey player - Mike Eruzione, the Captain of the gold medal winning US Olympic Hockey Team at the 1980 Winter Olympics in Lake Placid.

It was impossible ... but we did it anyway.

The Original STARCADE! Pilot aired on several TV stations in California in September 1981 and became the prototype to sell the concept to NBC television ... and later to Ted Turner (WTBS & CNN)... but that's another story ...
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